Students at TRU, along with others at B.C. post secondary institutions, will have access to additional supports to address substance use through a $400,000 investment for a project co-led by the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Changing the Culture of Substance Use is a project currently being implemented at 11 public post-secondary institutions. Project researchers are working to create a wider range of resources and strategies, which will engage key groups such as student leaders, students in residence and those in their first year.
TRU is working to revamp the culture of drinking in residence using a “Drink with Class” campaign, targeting students during their first six weeks in residence with multiple strategies to encourage responsible drinking.
“As a parent I know it can be difficult to talk to young people about responsible alcohol use,” said Terry Lake, Health Minister and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA. “Excessive use of alcohol can lead to challenges with addiction, but helping to shift the culture toward moderate use at this pivotal point in a young person’s life can help set them on the right track.”
“Engaging TRU students on the use of alcohol is an effective way to ensure they have the facts and understand the pitfalls of irresponsible drinking,” Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone said. “The Drink with Class campaign has been effective at changing the culture of drinking in residence at TRU, and this initiative will see that it continues.”
“This initiative aims to promote healthier alcohol consumption among our students by growing the behaviour we like to see versus telling the students what not to do,” said Brandon de Krieger, TRU residence services supervisor. “The goal is to foster good habits and thus a good drinking culture from day one. We see that when this is accomplished the routines are, more often than not, maintained throughout the entire year.”
This investment aligns with the provincial government's 10-year mental-health and substance use plan, Healthy Minds, Healthy People, which focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment and sustainability of mental health and substance use supports. The announcement meets a commitment within the plan to provide more substance use initiatives across the province.
Alcohol Sense, a suite of online resources to help parents educate and guide their children to make healthy decisions about alcohol through critical thinking and conversation, is available here.